How Excess Military Spending Blocks Building Back Better

Understanding why President Biden’s Build Back Better plan stalled requires consuming a big fat reality sandwich: The United States spends more on its military than the next eleven highest-spending countries combined and a much greater chunk of its economy than any of its allies. Because, after satisfying the war machine’s appetite for money, there isn’t enough left over to fund significant social improvements.

By David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

Excess Military Spending Vs Build Back Better

Excess military spending in line
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We’re not urging that military expenditures be reduced, but if we want a better society for all people, including those who serve in the military and their families, we must make some choices about what kind of country we wish to live in.

In comparison:

“The United States ($778 billion) spends more on national defense than China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Australia — combined. ($761 billion}” The Peter J. Peterson Foundation

Pause long enough for soaking that in. It’s sobering. Not just a political enemy or two, but eleven in total. While, at the same time, we struggle for a program lifting millions of burdened, underfed children above the poverty line…? What does this say about us as a nation – of flesh and blood, of people?

According to Forbes, “In the 20 years since September 11, 2001, the United States has spent more than $2 trillion on the war in Afghanistan. That’s $300 million dollars per day, every day, for two decades.

That’s in the losing war in Afghanistan alone, money that could’ve gone to daycare, higher education, science, healthcare and other programs at home.

Before playing with the numbers to satisfy conservatives, the Democrats’ Build Back Better plan adds up to $6.5 trillion over ten years. It’s important remembering, that’s just $650 billion per year.

But consider what we get: Lowering childhood poverty to levels never seen in America; investing in childcare, allowing millions of women to return to work; attacking climate change with real muscle for the first time ever.

barbecue bbq delicious dinner
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In other words, Build Back Better is money that pays back, not cash drifting down into the cinders of bad wars.

Bottom line, whatever the official story says, America is a country more committed to war, to militarism, than virtually any other in the world. The corollary is inescapable; we are not nearly as committed to people of any age.

Getting Real on Budget

It’s high time for Americans to consider what we’re doing with our tax dollars. Excessive military spending shows a militaristic slant and blocks Build Back Better because not enough money is left after feeding the beast of war.

Year after year, since the end of World War II, the U. S. expands its military footprint, but to what end?

“Despite recently closing hundreds of bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad—from giant “Little Americas” to small radar facilities. Britain, France and Russia, by contrast, have about 30 foreign bases combined.” Politico: Where in the World is the U.S. Military?

Has this overwhelming presence kept us from getting into war after war, spending trillions and losing?

Where’s the discretion in “discretionary spending?”

Conclusion on Excess Military Spending 

When it comes to military spending, the United States is like an angry spoiled child with too much money. Yet, as we’ve seen in recent years, this “too much of a good thing” has become detrimental to our society and economy. We need an intervention that will help us find a balance between bombs and babies.

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